Trash Collectors: Essential Workers Doing A Dangerous Job

Trash Collectors: Essential Workers Doing a Dangerous Job Need a Safety Management CourseA trash collector has a tough job. Even with modern refuse and recycling trucks and automatic lifters, it demands a lot of lifting, pushing and pulling.

The Dangers Are Everywhere

And garbage is, well, garbage. The contents present their own potential hazards, including glass and other sharp objects, dirt and grime, pressurized containers, and infectious material.

Major physical demands are made on these workers. They need to lift heavy containers safely and step on and off trucks with traffic all around. There is a constant chance of injury to hands, face and eyes.

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It’s essential that trash collectors undergo a sanitation-worker-specific safety management course to learn how to recognize and mitigate hazards. They are outside in the elements, doing hard physical labor, constantly around traffic and dealing with potentially hazardous materials, all on a daily basis.

These five elements are key for safety education:

  • safe lifting practices
  • traffic and vehicle safety
  • first aid and protective gear
  • hazardous materials
  • company-specific safety policies

Lifting And Physical Safety

Training in how to lift objects is important for every individual, whether it’s around the home or in the office. But for trash collectors, it is an essential component of their job. Online tutorials are helpful, but in-person training and actual practice are also needed.

Traffic And Trucks

The safety management course needs to address the safest way to work around complex garbage and recycling trucks and how to navigate traffic conditions without getting injured.

Specific areas include ensuring they stay visible at all times, when to cross the road to make a collection, operating the truck controls, hydraulics and moving parts, not getting on and off the truck when it is moving, the use of seat belts, how to work with front loaders and good communication procedures between driver and assistant.

First Aid And Protective Gear

Every worker needs to know where to find first aid supplies and how to use them. He needs to know how to evaluate injuries and when to go to the hospital.

Also in this category is protective gear, a must for a sanitation worker. This includes non-skid, heavy duty boots, the right type of gloves, reflective vests and other clothing and eye protection.

Hazardous Materials

Trash collectors are truly on the firing line when it comes to hazardous materials. These can include needles and other devices with blood on them, pesticides from used containers, flammable objects, chemicals and paint thinners, pressurized containers and pet waste.

fctc-online-bannerThe safety management course needs to specify the best way for a worker to protect himself from an assortment of hazardous materials. He needs to be aware of preventive measures, from using waterless hand cleaners to getting the proper vaccines.

In-House Safety Procedures

Every company should have a safety management plan in place that identifies procedures to make the job as injury free as possible. Each worker needs to get educated about the actions that will keep him protected while he does this essential job.An effective safety management course for sanitation workers can help them stay safe and injury-free when they do this important job.

~Mary Hannick

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About the Author

safetyBUILT-IN is the safety-leadership learning and development division of SCInc. We believe sustainable safety performance is best achieved through a core-values based safety culture, and that culture must be driven by leadership. Our safety-leadership programs are competency-based, and focused on performance outcomes. We believe in building capability and ownership into our client organizations—as well as sustainability into our programs—so that our clients can continue running those programs long after we’re out of the picture. Our emphasis is on building better leadership presence, better leadership communication and better leadership coaching by first building relationships of trust with people and learning how to engage them on the level of their core values and beliefs.